Social Technology Reaches Critical Scale

Increasing adoption of social technologies is fuelled by significant performance benefits, a McKinsey study shows.
Social Technology Reaches Critical Scale

Social Technology Adoption

Social technogies have reached critical scale, a McKinsey study shows: 72% of organizations are deploying at least one social technology, and more than 40% are now using both social networking and blogging.

Maybe even more notable than those adoption numbers are the performance improvements experienced by organizations covered in the survey.

McKinsey classifies organizations into four groups, based on whether or not they achieved more than ten percent improvement in Web 2.0 related performance dimensions on either internal networking, external networking, both or none.

A substantial number of organizations has been able to reap 10% or more performance improvements by using social technology for either internal networking, external networking or both.

Market leaders typically reap benefits from internal networking, but shy away from external networking.

Externally networked and fully networked organizations benefit by using social technologies for customer and partner outreach, blurring the boundaries of the organization.

New business processes may radically improve performance

The process improvements that yield most benefits are: scanning the external environment, and using social technologies to more fluidly match employees with tasks. Integrating web technologies into the daily workflow, is the most effective way to maintain or improve competitive position.

Using social technologies to assess employee performance has a strong negative effect on performance. Micro-monitoring employee behaviour does not mix well with a culture of trust and transparency, needed to reap the benefits of social work processes.

Interestingly, the rate of change in social technology adoption is a stronger predictor of superior performance, than is the absolute level of social technology deployment. In other words: becoming social is more important than being social. This and other indicators in the survey suggest that ongoing transformation and change are key qualities that lead to superior performance, and social media adoption may be just one of the symptoms of a more fundamental change-oriented strategy.

Survey respondents expect social technologies to modify many of their organizations' current processes, especially in fully networked organizations, and even more so if current technological constraints were to be removed. That points to significant additional benefits that can be reaped further down the line.

The scale of social technology adoption and the performance improvements gained, in combination with deep technological and competitive dynamics, creates significant opportunities for companies adopting social technologies and networking practices to reconfigure their work processes and value-creation fabric.

You can download and read the full report here (free registration required).

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